To all of our wonderful family and great friends:
We are about to place our last blog entry as we approach our time to leave this great country and return home. We have had marvelous experiences beyond just learning about the uniqueness of this land and people, but our testimonies have greatly expanded as we have felt the Spirit of the Lord attend the missionary work here. We have been happy to be a part of it. We love missionary work!! It is so fulfilling watching lives and hearts change!!
What will we miss here in Armenia?
Will it be the loving hearts of the people? People like -
The people of one of the branches we attend-Arabkir Branch. We are here visiting a house where an older sister died. You can see the casket lid resting against the wall outside the house, with flowers all around. The Branch President is 3rd from the left. The Relief Society President is the lady on the right of me with the white hair. (I’m in the red coat, not knowing when I brought this red coat just how much I would really stand out over here not having a black or gray one!) There are two missionaries to the left of me.
Or those little darling dark eyed children who are so cute!
Or will it be the georgous flowers that that are used during holidays and numerous occasions throughout the year!
Or the flower arrangements somebody just brings you for no special reason but because “they love you”
Or a little gift because it is Mother’s Week and they think you are special and show it by the little gifts they share with you.
Like this car that drives up to the supermarket everyday out our window, to deliver the bread.
Or how about this tree that is situated in the right place to hold up the gas pipe that is needed for this apartment building.
Or in winter when you see the hard workers that help keep the roads passable by hand throwing sand/dirt on the snowy roads.
All animals have a job to do and anything with wheels counts as a vehicle to assist in whatever needs to be carried!
If you can figure out how to pull something instead of carrying it, then it becomes the best there is!
Need a shoe repaired. It is just down the street in a blue shop.
He actually fixed my shoe and it wasn't costly!
This was two medal things sticking up out of the ground, if you weren’t watching where you stepped you could easily trip on them. Solution? Put a mound of gravel over them and instead, you now have to humps. Genius actually.
Come rain (snow) or shine the laundry has to be done! No such things as clothes dryers over here so you do the best you can on the line that runs from your apartment to the center of the courtyard. This is just outside our window.
Can anyone tell me how do they get dry?!!! I have wanted to know that since I’ve been here!
Their brooms are unique and very functional. We thought of bringing one to use back home but it won’t fit in the suitcase!
If you need to fix your tire, no worry, just do it! Your working garage can be anywhere! Even in almost the middle of the street.
Even the missionaries learn from the Armenians about innovation. The outside of this coat looks wonderful, just like new. The inside, well, at least the holes aren’t seen!!!!
Cleaning the mattress you sleep on is so easy and inexpensive. You do it yourself. Open the covering and take it outside to air out, beat it a few times with a stick and then leave it in the sun for a couple of days and then you have a mattress that seems like new again!!
Pickle everything to preserve it for the winter months. Cut up what you like and put it in a brine of water and salt and let it sit for about a week, and then put it in the jars you save, seal them with a special hand sealer and when you want to eat some or share with friends you just open it up and enjoy!
WE KNOW WE'LL MISS THOSE WONDERFUL MISSIONARIES WHO WHO HAVE BEEN LIKE OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS:
Sisters Bobzien, Boyle, Clove & Arslanian
Sisters Beal & Henriquez
Elders McDonald, Smith, Redpath, Maughan, Seegmiller & Skidmore
Eating a real cake mix (German Chocolate) from home with two of our sisters....
Sister Robles (in red) is from Kennewick, Washingon!!
Or will we miss the rich heritage, culture and history of the people and the land of Armenia...
The old Monasteries throughout Armenia, here at Tativ and Geghard - below:
An ancient pagan temple called Garni
We will miss seeing Mt. Ararat from our apartment balcony or the close up below of that famous mountain where in Genesis it says Noah's Ark came to rest. It has significant meaning to the Armenians as they think of it as being their monument. When the borders were changed and it was placed within Turkey's border it has remained a source of contention between the two countries. Armenians still see it as their monument.
We just don't seem to be able to get enough pictures of this beautiful mountain!
We will miss Downtown Yerevan with all its lights and fountains.
The native costumes of Armenia, of which one is shown by this lady in one of the their authentic restaurants...
Our waiters at the same restaurant.
This is one of many hillsides covered with obsidian rock!!
AS MUCH AS WE HAVE GROWN TO LOVE THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE - IN ALL THEIR UNIQUENESS, IT WILL BE A PAINFUL GOODBYE!!
This little sister loves to dress up and I love to hear and see her drama when she talks...she speaks with her hands and with dance! She talks to me like I know what she is saying...even though I say Ys chem haskanoom (I don't understand).
or this sister who is the “mom” for the missionaries in northern Armenian. Both of her daughters just left on two different missions to England.
A grandma (tatik) and her granddaughter...whom we met on our trip to Goris when we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast where her son and wife and the little girl's parent's own.
This is cute little Armine
(pronounced Ar mee nay) who just opened
her mission call and found out she is being
called to serve in England.
This is our Relief Society President in the Arabkir Branch that is one of the Branches that we serve in. She is so wonderful and full of love for everyone. She has a very strong testimony of the Gospel which she bears often and humbly. She is a great cook as you can tell by these pastries she made. With all of their layers, these actually take days to make.
This is two Armenians talking to the two missionaries who first taught them the gospel and have since returned to America. They are talking via Skype from our computer. The lady in the middle has made her decision to get baptized and is Skyping to tell them that! Her husband is at her left (he was baptized 9 months earlier) her friend is on her right and the two missionaries presently teaching them are also in the picture.
Or will we miss most those we work with every day in the office, like...
Armen here who works as an MLS employee. One of the missioanaries bought him a leather triple in Armenian and had his name and Mt. Ararat embossed on the front. He is always nice and pleasant to work with. He is always helpful when anyone needs assistant. He also has a wonderful family.
This is our Visa clerk, Grigor who loves to laugh, and shares jokes whenever he can. He works hard and knows how to get things done.
This is Sargis who is the Account for the church here and is always smiling and sharing with us a litte about Armenia and it's traditions.
This is Ruben who loves to golf by hitting the ball over the hillside and down the canyons!
We will never forget the unique food...
Whether you buy it in the supermarket like the cow feet you see below which is used for making a traditional Armenian soup called Khash...
Khash is eaten with dried lavash bread which is crumbled and put into the broth so it can be soaked up. Sometimes another soft piece of lavash is used as a wrap.
It is cooked by boiling bovine shanks for hours until the tendon falls off the bones and the water becomes a thick broth. Many times cooked stomach pieces are also added to the dish. There is no salt used while cooking, but it is liberally seasoned with salt and crushed garlic after the dish is served. It is a festive dish usually eaten in winter, however there is a tradition that it should only be eaten during the months that have a "y" in its name.
Or the closest thing to fast food. It is bread with meat, greens and tomatoes and french fries wrapped up together.
Or something in the restaurant
Or the excitement for any of the missionaries, including seniors, to get something from home.
Or to a simple meal in an Armenian home.
Or will we miss most, the scenes we see outside our apartment window:
From a funeral
To a record snowfall and all the events that can bring?
Or just the beauty of the still of the night after the snow falls....
To the night scenes off our balcony
We will, without doubt miss the friends we gained in the other senior missionaries, whom we learned from, whom we love and have had fun with....
From our trying out the restaurants we haven't been to before...
to our trips to see the historic sites in Georgia
to other ruins of Armenia's rich history
whom we will never forget, especially when we share food and gag together when we find out after the fact, that we just ate cow's tongue!
Every one of them we have special memories with, for we have shared the best 18 months of our lives together in a great land and having great experiences...
From the couple we replaced, to the couple replacing us:
To our Mission President and his wife and the association and tremendous influence they have had in our lives. Especially the experiences we have had here because of them, that has helped our testimonies grow and has strengthened us spiritually. We have gained knowledge by their example and their words of wisdom that has changed us forever. We will never forget them and will always cherish our friendship with them.
When it all comes down to it, it is not only what we will miss here, but whom we missed at home:
To the one grand baby born while we were away:
To the ones who have grown considerably so that we hope we will recognize them when we see them!
WHAT AN EXPERIENCE WE HAVE HAD - ONE THAT WE WOULDN'T TRADE FOR
ANYTHING IN THE WORLD! WE HAVE GROWN, WE HAVE CHANGED. WE HOPE TO
CONTINUE CHANGING......INTO BETTER PEOPLE, BETTER GRANDPARENTS,
BETTER PARENTS, BETTER NEIGHBORS, BETTER BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
DAUGHTERS, SONS AND ESPECIALLY ALWAYS WILLING TO SERVE THE LORD IN
WHATEVER HE WOULD LIKE US TO DO WITH THE TALENTS HE HAS GIVEN US.
AS LONG AS WE HAVE EACH OTHER:
WE WILL DO JUST FINE!
THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT, YOUR PRAYERS AND THE MANY OTHER WAYS YOU HAVE SUPPORTED US ON THIS MISSION. WE LOVE THE PEOPLE HERE, WE LOVE WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM THEM, WE WILL MISS SO VERY MUCH THOSE WHOM WE HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE TO TEACH THE GOSPEL TO AND HELP PREPARE FOR MAKING AND KEEPING SACRED COVENANTS WITH THE LORD AT THEIR BAPTISM.
THIS IS HIS WORK AND WE ARE INDEBTED TO HIM FOR THE MANY BLESSINGS THAT HAVE COME TO US AND OUR FAMILIES WHILE WE SERVED HERE. THERE IS NOT A GREATER WORK UPON THE EARTH THAN THAT OF HELPING IN THE MANDATE HE HAS GIVEN THE SAINTS TO SHARE THE GOSPEL. IT HAS BEEN A THRILL TO TAKE PART IN THAT.
WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE PEOPLE HERE WHO KNOW HOW TO LOVE AND GIVE OF THEMSELVES SELFLESSLY. WHO HAVE GIVEN US A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES TO CHERISH FOREVER.
ARMENIA WE LOVE YOU. WE HAVE LOVED SERVING HERE. WE SHALL NEVER FORGET OUR TIME SPENT HERE IN ARMENIA BECAUSE OUR HEARTS OUR FOREVER INTERTWINED WITH THOSE WE HAVE COME TO CALL OUR FAMILY.
ELDER & SISTER EYRE